I've been wanting to do this blog for a while, so let's get right to it. Some video games are great. Some of them have satisfying endgames. But some games, those really throw their all into the fight once the final hour has arrived. In this countdown I'll take a look back at my favorite endgame bosses (1 of which is not technically a final boss but is the conclusion to said game), and in the comments below, feel free to share what your favorites are!
10. The World Ends With You
After you defeat the Game Master of the third and final Reaper's Game, you come face to face with the Conductor of the game, Megumi Kitanji. He's passionate about what he's trying to do (spoilers aside) and he's going to do his best to stop you from beating him which would result in his objective not being met. He confronts you himself, and after beating him once, he transforms into his Noise form, a giant serpent called Anguis Cantus.
After defeating HIM, he transforms AGAIN after transforming with someone else (spoilers withheld), to a more dangerous serpent Noise called Draco Cantus. The entire last day builds up to this climactic fight, and it has a few small twists to the battle formula and is one of the only fights in the entire game you'll mostly be tackling with just Neku by himself. Needless to say, it is one epic fight and I can't say much more without giving away very important story elements.
9. Pokemon Black/White
Normally, Pokemon games end at the Pokemon League of a given region, and your journey ends when you defeat the Champion. BUT NOT THIS TIME. After defeating the Elite Four, a castle comes out of the ****ing ground and surrounds the Pokemon League. It's N's castle. you have to confront him one last time, in what is an epic fight between truth and ideals. After that, his own father and a member of the Seven Sages of Team Plasma, Ghetsis, flips out at N's defeat and fights you himself after revealing the full intention he had for Team Plasma, and you take him down and bring an end to Team Plasma for the time being.
This endgame blew my mind despite being 19 years old at the time I played it and having been into Pokemon for over 11 years. I thought Pokemon was falling into a routine, and while I really liked Cynthia in Diamond/Pearl, I was waiting for when there'd be a twist to the plot somehow. And in Black/White, N's success with the Pokemon League up until you beat him was a welcome change and not actually fighting any sort of Champion for a final boss with Ghetsis was really cool too. N having a legendary Pokemon helped crank the intensity up to eleven.
8. Kingdom Hearts II
HOW OVER-THE-TOP CAN YOU MAKE ONE STRING OF FINAL BOSSES? First you go through a strange city, then you fight Xemnas in a weird knight form. Then you have to fight him on a giant Nobody dragon. Then you fight him in the knight form AGAIN but you're falling from the sky but you look like you're flying and you have to make your way to him. THEN you fight him finally in his usual form but in a different white/black cloak in a strange void of nothingness. AND I MIGHT BE MESSING UP MY ORDER BECAUSE THE ENDGAME JUST CONSISTS OF SO ****ING MUCH.
The first Kingdom Hearts almost made it to this list too because of how over the top it was, but few endgames can boast being that exaggerated as Kingdom Hearts II. And you get the epic partnership of Sora and Riku, who was reformed from falling into darkness in the first game and now a sweet dark hero type character. It just screamed awesome for me. Cheesy admittedly, but still a great way to wrap up the game.
7. No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
I love NMH2. I really do. It took the solid foundation of the first, and made it better. It did away with the unnecessary hubworld fluff (as novel as it was), and polished up the rest of the game. And the entire game revolves around Travis' thirst for vengeance against Jasper Batt Jr. and how he killed a good friend of his. Travis relunctantly assassinates his way through the top ranked assassin's a SECOND time, and learns that Jasper Batt Jr. himself is the top ranked assassin. He confronts him. After learning what his identity was (which surprised him), you begin the epic final boss fight with him.
And that boss fight ends up with three phases. You first fight him inside a small car and have defend yourself and make openings to hit him. After that, he makes himself buffer though some power and larger, and you fight what essentially is an evil superhero (looks like a superhero, but really isn't). After warding off attacks and knocking him down again, he increases in size AGAIN, in a parody to how final bosses progress in other games, and he's literally this giant balloon version of himself, and you fight him on the top of his destroyed office building. It's a challenging fight, but it's soooo satisfying when you finally bring him down.
6. Dark Cloud 2
Few games are beloved to me as Dark Cloud 2, and the game did a great job of wrapping up its story. You fight Emperor Griffin in his palace, only to learn that a dark creature had parasitically taken over his body and controlled him to do everything that he did. You then go through a weird dream realm and fight a bunch of bosses, and you confront the Dark Element, the real "Emperor Griffin", while it threatens to DROP THE FREAKING MOON ON THE PLANET. No, I'm serious, Majora's Mask is not the only game to have the threat of the moon being used as a weapon. Dark Cloud 2's world also had 2 moons, 1 of which was to be used to destroy the planet by the Dark Element.
You have a pretty good view of the second, fake moon and you have a tense countdown of 5 minutes to kill the Dark Element. The battle takes place on a small space of floor inside the strange colorful place near the top of the long spiral that you climbed up on the way. It's pretty atmospheric and the fight itself, which has the Dark Element switching its cloak coloring to grant immunity to long-ranged or close-ranged weapons (since the two main characters get 1 each) was a nice twist and added strategy.
5. Sonic & Knuckles
I have a hard time loving bosses in platformers because they tend to lack the intensity of a well-established RPG fight. But Sonic & Knuckles, which wraps up the Death Egg saga of the Sonic game timeline, ends beautifully. First you have an ordinary boss fight in the Death Egg Zone, which following that you chase Eggman before he jumps into his Death Egg Robot, and you have to hit the fingers of the hands he's using to try to crush you.
When that fails, he destroys pieces of the Death Egg as he follows you and attacks you with fire from his robotic nose (I'm serious), and a charged laser beam from the Master Emerald he's using for energy for the robot. In order to damage him you have to hit the Master Emerald's holding machine carefully and bounce off it before you fall from the platforms the robot's knocking down in its wake. And if that's not enough, destroying the robot doesn't end the game. Eggman tries to get away with the Master Emerald riding his little ship, and you get to chase him down and hit him while the rest of the Death Egg falls apart behind you.
Leaving out the Doomsday Zone which is a whole 'nother layer added on entirely, this is one of the most epic endgames I've ever gotten to experience in a platformer, and while I tend not to give Sonic & Knuckles enough credit, it did wrap up the Death Egg saga in a very cool manner.
4. Touhou Shinreibyou ~ Ten Desires
Not all of you know Touhou so here's a video link to the boss fight, because this might be hard to imagine what I'm explaining otherwise: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIZG7Rb8yMk. Good? Okay. So the plot here is Reimu found a weird disturbance and had to find out why spirits were flying around everywhere. She finds Toyosatomimi no Miko and a small group of people who practiced Taoism and tried to become immortal (and had people stop believing in them, sending them to Reimu's world, Gensokyo), and then Reimu (or whatever girl you pick) confronts Miko. After this, an Extra scenario can be unlocked, where Reimu goes to the Moriya Shrine and is intercepted by the playful tanuki girl Mamizou. And this fight happens.
IT ****ING HAPPENS. I love the playful music, and the entire theming of Mamizou's attacks is just bizarre in the coolest way possible. Her normal, non-spellcard attacks, she doesn't fool around with and literally just hurls large orbs every ****ing direction, but her spellcard attacks feature her bullets TURNING INTO LIVING THINGS, including gingerbread man looking humanshapes, frogs, birds, and dog-things. Land, sea, air, human. And to turn it up to 11, one of her spellcards has her transform into REIMU HERSELF and shooting trademark amulets at you, as well as leaving behind frogs which explode into amulets (as opposed to the feather-like bullets they normally explode into).
I've only ever beaten her one time, but fighting her is so satisfying. And I have a thing for tanukis ever since Super Mario Bros. 3 and Mario and Luigi being able to turn into them through that power-up. And Mamizou delivered.
3. Chrono Trigger
After going through time many many times you finally get to fight Lavos in the Black Omen, and you learn that there's more to Lavos than that exterior meteor monster you've seen all game. Not only do you fight a boss rush of a lot of the game's bosses with Lavos as the proxy, you get to fight Lavos itself normally, then you fight a strange Cell-like creature inside of Lavos. You go INSIDE OF LAVOS when you finish this beast off because its head retreated into its body. And then, after THAT, you fight its core: a weird alien being and 2 small bits accompanying it...
Until you learn the twist that ONE OF THE BITS IS THE CORE AND THE ALIEN ISN'T THE REAL TARGET. Many gamers who are genre-savvy get thrown for a loop when they learn Lavos' last form isn't the unique alien creature, but actually one of those bits. And until you start throwing attacks around, you have no way of knowing, adding to the tense challenge of finally ridding the planet of the horrible beast. To accompany it, the background spans through space-time and you get to see the various settings you've been to, which influence some of the core's attacks. Really cool indeed.
2. Final Fantasy VII
You dive deep inside the earth through the North Crater to fight Sephiroth for real. You defeat JENOVA for the 4th and final time, and then you face Sephiroth, who was turned into some strange monster. You get to tackle the fight with multiple parties if you want to. Then when you think Sephiroth's defeated, he becomes an angellic god-like... thing, with epic latin choir accompanying this. It's one of the coolest final bosses I've ever gotten to play, and while a lot of people like to mock it nowadays, I like to give credit where its due; if not for this game, I wouldn't have played any other Final Fantasy titles, and Sephiroth is an awesome villain. I found the final boss fight with him highly dynamic and entertaining. It helps that his forms gain stats depending on whether you used the gamebreaking summon on JENOVA before him or if you have any Lv.99 characters.
1. Pokemon Gold/Silver
Yes, wrapping up our countdown is another Pokemon game. And no I'm not talking about Lance here. I'm talking about the game's TRUE final boss. You've collected Kanto's badges after defeating the entire Johto region, and been given permission to venture to Mt. Silver. You traverse the eerie, dark cave. You reach the last room of the final dungeon of this 60+ hour Pokemon game, and you see nothing but a single path forward and black void surrounding you (assuming the original here, for atmosphere). You reach the other side to see a trainer standing there, and approach them. All they say before you're rushed into a fight is "..."
This is how the epic final battle of Gold/Silver pulls you in. You fight not just any trainer, but the hero of the entire Kanto region from 3 years ago. You're fighting a former champion that stepped down in order to continue growing stronger. You're fighting a trainer that was the FIRST to mess with and successfully defeat Team Rocket. And you get that epic Champion Battle music that Lance got along with Red holding nothing but Pokemon obtained through events in Yellow (Espeon implied to be the Eevee from Celadon). You get to know why there's only 1 Snorlax in Kanto. He has the second one.
Red is in himself an epic character in Gold/Silver for being a hero 3 years before you began your journey in Johto. And you get to fight him. Not many games can make a new installment and have the game wrap up by BEATING THE FIRST GAME'S PROTAGONIST. But to this day Gold/Silver are my favorite games in the series, and not only was the pacing of the game great, but having Red as its final fight just makes it that much more awesome.